AAFP Statement: Failure to Bring Medicare Bill to Senate Floor is a ‘Serious Blow’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, June 12, 2008

Statement Attributable to:
James King, M.D.
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

The American Academy of Family Physicians is deeply disappointed that the Senate has failed to take up debate on the “Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008” (S. 3101.). This procedural breakdown is a serious blow to the efforts on the part of the physician community to reach a consensus before the disastrous 10.6 percent Medicare physician pay cut, now scheduled to take effect July 1.

That cut will have a domino effect, throwing the more than 44.2 million Medicare patients into confusion over the amount of their copayment for doctors’ appointments and forcing family physicians – who are predominantly small businesses – to cope with dramatically lower revenues to operate their offices at a time of skyrocketing costs of doing business.

We urge both Republicans and Democrats to immediately negotiate compromise legislation that meets the needs of both patients and the physicians who care for them. Only by acting quickly can Congress and the Administration ensure the stability of a health care program on which millions of elderly and disabled patients depend.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).